Type: Cities, Palace complexes
Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): Spain
Description: The palace-city of Madinat al-Zahra' ("the shining city") was begun in 936 by 'Abd al-Rahman III, the first Umayyad caliph of Córdoba (he also added monumental minarets to the Great Mosque of Córdoba). The city was built as the seat of the caliphate of Córdoba and used until the dissolution of the caliphate in 1031. It was built on three terraces, with a congregational mosque on a lower terrace the administrative buildings and court residences at the highest elevation. The so-called House of Ja'far was one of the sumptuous private residences at Madinat al-Zahra'. Its most notable survival is the facade of its reception hall, with its triple-arched entrance. Some of the city's private residences had courtyards with water features.
Relevant Textbook Chapter(s): 5, 6
Repository and Online Resources: • Visit the page on Madinat al-Zahra' on UNESCO's World Heritage List. • See the remains of a carved marble capital from Madinat al-Zahra' in the Royal Ontario Museum.
Image Credits: Linda Safran, Wikimedia Commons, Navid Jamali
Tags: Status and identity, Connections to the past, Ideology, Islamic, Islamicate, Western European, Mediterranean, Works in textbook